The purposes of this study were 1) to establish accelerometer count cutoffs to categorize activity intensity of 3 to 5-y old-children and 2) to evaluate the accelerometer as a measure of children’s physical activity in preschool settings.
While wearing an ActiGraph accelerometer, 16 preschool children performed five, 3-min structured activities. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses identified count cutoffs for four physical activity intensities. In 9 preschools, 281 children wore an ActiGraph during observations performed by three trained observers (interobserver reliability = 0.91 to 0.98).
Separate count cutoffs for 3, 4, and 5-y olds were established. Sensitivity and specificity for the count cutoffs ranged from 86.7% to 100.0% and 66.7% to 100.0%, respectively. ActiGraph counts/15 s were different among all activities (P < 0.05) except the two sitting activities. Correlations between observed and ActiGraph intensity categorizations at the preschools ranged from 0.46 to 0.70 (P < 0.001).
The ActiGraph count cutoffs established and validated in this study can be used to objectively categorize the time that preschool-age children spend in different physical activity intensity levels.